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Depositions for John Mead 11 Nov 1836 Sydney trial 1


In the Seventh Year of the Reign of
Our Sovereign Lord William the Fourth,
by the Grace of God, of the United
Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland,
King, Defender of the Faith.

New South Wales
(TO WIT)–               }

Be it Remembered, That John Kinchela, Esquire, Doctor of Laws John Hubert Plunkett Esquire, His Majesty’s Attorney General for the Colony of New South Wales, who prosecutes for His Majesty in this Behalf, being present in the Supreme Court of New South Wales, now here, on the First Day of August in the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty six at Sydney, in the Colony aforesaid, informs the said Court, that John Mead [aka Meed] late of Sydney aforesaid in the Colony aforesaid Laborer
to wit on the Tenth Day of May in the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty six with Force and Arms, at or near the Kings High Road leading from Sydney aforesaid to Botany in the Colony aforesaid, in and upon one Julius Rudders an Infant under the age of fourteen years to wit of the age of years then and there being feloniously did make an assault and then and there


feloniously wickedly and against the Orders had a venereal affair with the said Julius Rudder and then and there feloniously carnally knew him the said Julius Rudder and then and there feloniously wickedly and against the order of nature with the said Julius Rudder did commit and perpetrate that detestable and abominable crime of buggery (not to be named amongst Christians)against the form of the statute in such case made and provided, and against the peace of our Lord the King his Crown and Dignity.

[Signed] John Hubert Plunkett, [AG].

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[On the reverse of the above is the following]

In the Supreme Court
No. 60
The King against John Mead, B[onded]
Information for Sodomy
Witnesses: Master Julius Rudders, 2 Master William Rudders, Master Henry Rudders, Mrs Rudders, George Treagle G [Bonded], Mr FW Hannard.

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plea Not Guilty
11th November 1836
Judge Kinchela JCJ verdict Guilty
Death passed
[Signed] George J Rogers.
November 21st 1836
Warrant for issued for the Execution of the prisoner on Tuesday 29th instant.
[Signature illegible]


Criminal Session, August 1836

In the Supreme Court
of New South Wales     }

The King against John Mead

    Francis Fisher Crown Solicitor of New South Wales maketh oath and saith that the above named Prisoner was committed for trial at the Session in this August on the 7th of July last on a charge of Sodomy and Deponent saith that on the 19th of July last he caused subpoenas to be issued for the attendance of Witnesses on behalf of the Crown and for the Prisoner and that George Treagle was a necessary witness for the Crown and is also required by the Prisoner. And Deponent saith that the case was investigated before the Sydney Bench of Magistrates and the witness was Treagle was supposed to have resided with his Master at Sydney and that on the 28th of July last he was informed that Treagle was at Brisbane Waters and the Deponent caused the Subpoena to be put in the Post Office under direction to the Police Magistrate there who has since arrived in Sydney and found the letter so directed still there, no vessel having left Sydney for Brisbane Waters since the 28th of July as Deponent has been informed and Deponent cannot as he has been informed and verily believes procure the attendance of the said Witness George Treagle in time for the trial at this present Criminal


Session and without his attendance this case could not in the opinion of this Deponent be tried so as to ensure justice between the Crown and the Prisoner.

Sworn in open Court
this 5th August 1836

[Signed] Francis Fisher

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[On the reverse of the above is the following]

In the Supreme Court of New South Wales
Criminal Session August 1836
The King against John Mead
The Attorney General
To move on the within affidavit for postponement of this Trial till next session.
Crown Solicitor

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The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Sat 12 Nov 1836 3




    Before Mr Justice Kinchela, and a Civil Jury.

    John Meed, [aka John Mead] assigned to WH Green, was indicted for an assault of a nameless description upon a boy on the old Botany Road, in May last. Guilty. Sentence of death was immediately passed, but no day mentioned for execution.. Prisoner left the Court, saying “It was all a made up thing but never mind.”

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The Sydney Monitor, Mon 14 Nov 1836 4

FRIDAY, NOV. 11, 1836.

Before the Acting Chief Justice and Civil Jury.

    Before Mr JUSTICE KINCHELA, and a civil Jury.

    John McGee, [aka John Mead], assigned to Mr WH Green, of Parramatta street, stood indicted foran unnatural offence committed on a child aged seven years of the Botany Road in May last. The Prisoner was found guilty, and sentenced of death was passed upon him with an exhortation from the Judge. Not to hope for mercy. The prisoner left the bar protesting his innocence, and stating, that the charge had been brought against him from malicious motives on the part of the witness.

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The Sydney Herald, Thu 17 Nov 1836 5

SUPREME COURT – (Criminal Side).

    Friday [11 November 1836].– Before the Chief Justice [Kinchela] and a Civil Jury.

     John Meed was indicted for a nameless offence. Guilty – Death.

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NSW Executive Council Minute, 17 Nov 1836  6

Minute No. 28

Council Chamber
Thursday 17th November 1836

    His Excellency the Governor [Richard Bourke KCB]
    The Right Reverend the Lord Bishop of Australia [William Grant Broughton]
    The Hon the Colonial Secretary [Alexander M’Cleay]
    The Minute of proceedings at the last meeting was read and confirmed.
    2. His Excellency the Governor having informed the Council of his intention to lay before them the Report of their Honors the Judges of the Supreme Court of the cases of Capital convicts tried at the late Criminal sessions, the Lord Bishop of Australia requested permission to decline sitting in Council during their consideration from a conviction that it might be injurious to the cause of religion, were a person holding his station in the church to become a party to any decision upon which life and death depend. His Excellency observed that in consequence of the temporary absence of the only remaining member Lieutenant Colonel Snodgrass in charge of the Government at Van Diemen’s Land he would be unable to convene a Council for the purpose in question, and the meeting was accordingly adjourned sine die.
[Signed] E Deas Thomson, Clerk of the Council.

    John Mead – Convicted of Sodomy – That the sentence of the law should take its course.

[Signed] E Deas Thomson, Clerk of the Council

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The Sydney Monitor, Wed 30 Nov 1836 7

    EXECUTION.—William Cook, and James Mead, convicted during the last criminal Sessions, the former for rape, the latter for an abominable offence, suffered yesterday morning pursuant to their sentences. They were attended in their moments by the Rev Mr William Cowper.

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The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Thu 1 Dec 1836 8

    EXECUTION.— On Tuesday [29 November 1836] the utmost penalty of the law was carried into effect upon the prisoners Cook and Mead, convicted during the last sittings of the Criminal Court, the former for rape upon the person of the wife of his overseer, the latter of an unnameable offence. Both of the culprits were attended in their last moments by the Rev Mr [William] Cowper, [Senior Assistant Chaplain] to whose religious instruction they appeared to pay becoming attention. They addressed no observations to the standers by. Every preparation being completed, the fatal signal was given, the bolt withdrawn, and the culprits were as the clods of the valley.

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The Australian, Fri 2 Dec 1836 9

    [John] Mead, committed of an unnameable offence, and Smith of a rape, underwent the awful sentence of the law on Tuesday [29 November] morning last. They both appeared penitent, and died without a struggle.


1     SRNSW: NRS880, [SC T44] Information No. 54, Supreme Court, Papers and depositions, 1836.

2     According to Catherine Koning, who is writing a book about the Australian soprano, Dorothy Rudder, entitled: Dainty Diva, informed the author that the correct spelling of the family name is Rudder and not Rudders as stated in the above court documents. Furthermore, the Rudders came to Australia from Birmingham in early 1834. Finally, thanks to Catherine for pointing me in the direction to extra newspaper reports.

3     The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Sat 12 Nov 1836, p. 3.

4     The Sydney Monitor, Mon 14 Nov 1836, p. 2.

5     The Sydney Herald, Thu 17 Nov 1836, p. 4. Justice Kinchela’s 1836 notebooks could not be located at SRNSW.

6     SRNSW: NRS4232, [4/1519], Executive Council, Minute books, Minute 28, 17 Nov 1836.

7     The Sydney Monitor, Wed 30 Nov 1836, p. 2.

8     The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Thu 1 Dec 1836, p. 3. Emphasis added.

9     The Australian, Fri 2 Dec 1836, p. 2. Emphasis added.